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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDS44001/3
Recording details: February 1985
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Thomas Daye
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1987
Total duration: 31 minutes 16 seconds

'Admirers of the Salomon Quartet's 'authentic' approach to Mozart will be glad to learn that their versions of the 'Haydn' Quartets … are now available in a 3-CD boxed set at a slightly reduced price' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'They strike me as the musical equivalent of a breath of fresh spring air' (The Records and Recording)

String Quartet in C major 'Dissonance', K465
'Haydn' Quartet No 6

Adagio – Allegro  [11'19]
Allegro molto  [7'36]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
At some point in the early nineteenth century the C major Quartet, K465, acquired the nickname ‘The Dissonance’. This was undoubtedly due to the extraordinary harmonic boldness of the first movement’s slow introduction, though it is worth pointing out that the unsettling effect of this music is due at least as much to the rapidity and remoteness of the modulations as to the dissonances themselves. The dark tentative mood of the Adagio is soon dispelled by the C major brightness of the Allegro: note how the opening theme transforms the plaintive rising figure from bar 4 of the introduction.

The slow movement is marvellously eloquent and contains some of Mozart’s most effective ‘conversational’ writing. A passage in the second thematic group has caused some controversy amongst musicologists: did Mozart really intend the violins and viola to be silent in bars 26 and 75? Some performers have chosen to ‘correct’ this passage; It is played here as it appears in the manuscript and first edition—it certainly throws a completely different light on the ‘filled-out’ version in bar 85.

Haydn’s influence is strongly in evidence in the amusingly abrupt forte-piano contrasts of the Minuet; in the Trio, however, the humour is entirely Mozartian. As in the equivalent section of K421 the mood is ironic, but here the face behind the mask is comic, not tragic: the first violin’s C minor declamations are surely too melodramatic to be taken seriously.

The long-term harmonic adventures of the Finale (Allegro molto) are hardly less daring than those of the first movement’s Adagio introduction, but here the effect is thoroughly exhilarating. This so-called ‘Dissonance’ Quartet is, in fact, one of Mozart’s most brilliant and high-spirited works.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1991

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